Uncovering Roman Carlisle on display at Tullie, Carlisle’s museum
‘Finds of a lifetime’ – Romans, baths and cricket!
From the 23rd September a new exhibition at Tullie will display some of the more than 1,000 objects discovered at the excavation of Hadrian’s Wall’s largest Roman Bathhouse at the site since 2021. Stars of the show will be two huge Roman carved heads from the early 3rd century AD were discovered at Carlisle’s Cricket Club in May 2023 described as ‘finds of a lifetime’ by the experts.
These heads are thought to be of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and his wife Julia Domna who may have come with him to Carlisle, then Luguvalium, the great base military base on the Empire’s Northern boundary. In 208 AD, Septimius Severus took at least three full legions from Carlisle to quell the unruly Scots.
One clue is that Julia Domna was well known for her thick braided hair which can be seen on one of the heads. Others speculate that the head represents Fortuna, the Roman goddess of good luck. Use your stay at The Tranquil Otter to share in Carlisle’s amazing good Fortune.
Dig a little deeper – Uncovering Roman Carlisle
Set in the heart if Carlisle’s historic quarter is Tullie, an award-winning museum and gallery and one of the region’s most popular cultural attractions. You may have seen the heads in the news, but this exhibition will allow you to see them up close. The heads are the centrepiece of this exhibition but there will be other finds such as…
- A collection of beautiful intaglios (delicately carved gems)
- Hypocaust tiles
- Vaulting tubes
- A stone carving of a dolphin
Exhibitions manager at Tullie, Sarah McGlynn, said: “These recent finds represent a hugely important time in Carlisle’s history and have inspired the whole community. We are delighted to be bringing them to Tullie for everyone to see.”
Admission is free for under-18s. So, come and make the most of one of Carlisle gems as a family.
Inspired by history?
Take your Roman Adventures to the next level!
Fired up by our Roman history? There are plenty of locations to see during your visit to Roman Carlisle, here are some of our favourites.
Vindolanda – [50 minutes] West of The Tranquil Otter
Since 1970, only 25% of Vindolanda, once an important garrison on Hadrian’s Wall, has been uncovered, so many years still to go till all its secrets are revealed. it was demolished and re-built by the Romans 9 times, each time leaving a layer to tell the story of the community behind the re-build.
There’s a modern museum (with café and a souvenir shop) on site using the latest interpretation techniques to tell Vindolanda’s turbulent story.
Roman Army Museum and Magna Roman Fort
[40 minutes from The Tranquil Otter]
The Roman Army Museum includes some amazing, uncovered items to look out for on your visit are the only surviving helmet create made of delicate hair moss, the Quintus Sollonius phalera (silver, gilt, and base metal brooch) and the archers thumb guard. There are life sized replicas, 3D films and holographic rooms, replica armour and weapons, all which help illustrate truly the aspects of Roman life.
Take a short drive from The Tranquil Otter in the wonderful North Pennines to see these fascinating sites